Don’t Call Me Maiden

When I got married, it was quite unusual for a woman to continue to use the surname she was born into. Even though I became a Birnberg, my husband and I continued to use my original name, Stone, when we made dinner reservations. Otherwise, we’d have to spell Birnberg several times. In fact, when someone asked our daughter, when she was about three, what her name was, she answered, “Joan Rebecca Birnberg BRNBRG.” Obviously, she had heard us spelling our last name repeatedly and, despite omitting the vowels, she thought the spelling was part of her last name.

After my marriage, though, I never referred to Stone as my maiden name. It conjured up a damsel-in-distress to me, so I referred to it as my unmarried name or my birth name. Birth name seems more appropriate to me now because both males and females change their last names for various reasons, whether or not they are or have been married.

Do I wish I had kept my birth name? Yes. If you could only see how our mail has been addressed: BRINBERG, BEINBERG, BIENBERG, BIRENBERG, BRINBAUM and many other creative attempts, including our favorite, BIZENBERRY.




Filed under All things having to do with the English language

2 responses to “Don’t Call Me Maiden

  1. Janet Papkin

    Well, I never had a choice about maiden name but I know what you mean about spelling. My name is Papkin P like in Paul – A – P like in Paul – KIN. Then the reply – P like in Tall? But my middle name, Elaine, really was chosen as a damsel in distress because my mom read all of the Knights of the Round Table stories.

    xox Janet



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